Sajid Javid recently announced that it will be compulsory for private landlords to sign up to an Ombudsman Redress Scheme and there will be a consultation on a new housing court. Catherine Cockcroft, Director at Aylesford International explains.
“At the Conservative Party Conference, Sajid Javid announced that they have plans for buy to let landlords to register with a compulsory redress scheme in order to help landlords and tenants solve disputes quickly and efficiently. However, as far as I am aware no further details have been given so far, although we are expected to hear more in the upcoming budget.
Currently Aaents are required to be part of a redress scheme and landlords and tenants can turn to the scheme if they feel that their complaint has not been dealt with. There are various criteria that must be met, including a written complaint must have been sent to the agent within 12 months of the incident happening and the agent must have been given a minimum of 8 weeks to investigate and respond.
I understand that ARLA Propertymark have been calling for landlord and tenant claims to be taken out of the county court and for a specialist housing tribunal to be set up for some time.
Sajid Javid has said he would consult over introducing a new Housing Court, which would work for both landlords and tenants to ensure that both uphold their contractual rights. Currently it takes a minimum of 6 months (longer in many cases) to evict a tenant from a property, by the time you have served the relevant notices and even when possession is given, a landlord often has to appoint bailiffs in order to acquire vacant possession. During this period, the rent is usually unpaid, which has a material effect on a landlord trying to pay a mortgage or other outgoings.
This would also benefit a tenant who wants to take action against their landlord for breaches in their obligations to provide and maintain their property during the tenancy.
The most important thing is communication. If a landlord or tenant comes up with an issue, they should discuss it with each other or via their agent immediately. In many cases issues can be dealt with using common sense. Sometimes it is a matter of coming to a compromise and often the agent can call on experience of previous situations to help assist reaching a conclusion acceptable to both parties. Using a redress scheme should be the last port of call, once all avenues have been explored.”
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